Focus on Her Interests, not Her Age & Gender.

A few weeks ago, iMedia hosted its InFocus Summit, which placed a spotlight on digital women and moms. Many of the speakers discussed how brands are not reaching this powerful audience, and the need for marketers to bridge this gap. I agree: It’s time for brands to focus on a woman’s interests and priorities, rather than her gender or age. I touched on this idea in my last Engage:Momscolumn but iMedia reinforced my thoughts.

Let’s look at it this way. A 35-year-old woman might be married with children living the suburbs or she might be a single foodie who lives in the city and loves to travel. Those women are at very different stages in life even though they are the same age and gender. With differing lifestyles, they each buy and interact with products differently; one uses Huggies and CafeMom, the other loves Birchbox and Travelocity. 

So how does a brand build efficient marketing programs to reach both audiences? Let’s consider an example. It’s likely that both women enjoy shopping at Whole Foods, but they shop for very different reasons. A 35-year-old mom is likely looking for healthy family meals, whereas a 35-year-old urban woman wants organic weeknight meals for one. To reach both audiences in one email would be a mistake. Whole Foods needs to segment based on lifestyle and interests rather than age and gender.

Here are a few ways brands can engage women based on their life stage, rather than their age or gender:  

– Survey Your Customers – Not sure what interests your customers? Find out. Send a survey that asks questions around your customers’ interests and lifestyles. Analyze the results, find the similarities and differences, and create 5 to 10 personas (or more) that represent your typical customers. With this information, you can craft marketing messages that speak to women who are at a specific stage in life.

– Be Practical – Every product, from cleaning tools to shoes, has a useful angle. But what is useful to a single woman living in the city isn’t always of interest to a mom with three kids. Know the type of woman you’re targeting, the challenges they have, and give them relative content they care about. For example, provide tips on how to get out red wine stains to women more likely to host cocktail parties, and offer creative ways to display chips and dip at your kid’s birthday party for suburban moms. 

– Give, Give, Give – All consumers love saving money, regardless of age or gender. Brands need to target offers based on lifestyle interests. Offer a coupon for first-time stroller buyers that you send to new moms or create a loyalty program for makeup customers after they spend a certain amount of money. What’s valuable to one 35-year-old woman may not be valuable to another simply because of their same age. 

– Segment Social Media by Interests – 86% of American women have at least one social network profile (the average is 2.2). Given the data on women and social media, female-focused brands should have a social presence that speaks to different segments of women. Create Pinterest boards directed at the personas you identified in the survey, balance your Twitter and Facebook so they reach each of these personas, and run campaigns or contests around an activity, not an age group. 

The key to successful marketing to women is to target campaigns based on lifestyle and interest, not age and gender. Use the above guideline to revise an active campaign, work with new publishers that fit your target, or create new content for a specific audience. 

By Katie Petrillo 
Katie Petrillo is a B2B Marketer for Punchbowl, a celebrations site for moms. She writes about marketing to moms on the Punchbowl Trends Blog.
Courtesy of MediaPost

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